Natural Sunscreen

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen

Following on from my previous articles where I talked about not getting enough sunshine and therefore not enough vitamin D, and how safe sunscreens are (or aren’t), today I’m going to look at natural and eco friendly alternatives to sunscreens.

The good part about making your own natural sunscreen, is that you know exactly what goes into it.  However, the commercial sunscreens do have an advantage – they block more of the sun’s rays.  So be safe – if you use your own homemade natural sunscreen, don’t assume you can stay out all day in the full sun!

There are three main ingredients in natural, eco friendly homemade sunscreen:

  1. oil, so you can smooth it over your skin,
  2. a natural moisturizer to protect your skin, and
  3. (optionally) a scent.

Oil:  choose from sesame, coconut, jojoba or olive oil – ideally, organic and unrefined.   To moisturise, choose from aloe vera, shea butter and grapefruit seed extract.  Add essential oils for scent.  Mix / blend well, and you have your own natural sunscreen!

For added protection against burning, you could also add some zinc oxide to the mixture if you are comfortable with it.

Again, be aware that this type of natural sunscreen will not last as long as commercially available potions.  But you know what goes into it, and you’re protecting your health.

Update: from my friends at Abundant Health Center: use Carrot Seed essential oil mixed with coconut or olive oil as a natural sunscreen – it has a natural SPF of 38 – 40 – isn’t that wonderful!

Other Sun Protection Tips

Moderation: Remember, as a general rule we are not getting enough vitamin D.   You need sunscreen, but not all the time.  Remember to spend short amounts of time in the sun without sunscreen – gradually build up your exposure time depending on how sensitive your skin is to the sun.  Spending time in the sun makes you feel better too!

Impregnated Clothing:  You can buy clothing impregnated with chemicals to protect you from the sun and bugs.  (Personally, I would not wear such clothing – mainly because I don’t know the ingredients, plus I would lose track of how many times I washed it so I could not be sure if it still offered protection).  But it sells well, and I believe it is used in the military.

Eating Well Helps:  Try to eat plenty of dark green, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables, to keep your skin healthy and less prone to skin damage.  Eating fewer processed foods and drinks is better for your health in general, but there is some evidence to show that eating quality fresh food and drinking lots of water can also help to protect your skin against sunburn.  Green tea is also good for skin cancer protection.

Reverse your Thinking:  Consider how healthy you are from the inside out instead of the outside in.

Man at BeachOuch!  If you do end up with sunburn, consider natural, eco-friendly relief.  Aloe Vera gel is soothing, and a soothing oatmeal bath can also be helpful.

What About Men?  I was surprised to read a survey which showed that almost 80 percent of women wear sunscreen, while only 34 percent of men do.  (That got me wondering – do more men get skin cancer?  Do women spend more time in the sun than men?  Is men’s skin better protected?  I don’t know the answers, but I found it fascinating).

The Difference between Sunscreen and Sunblock

I was asked a great question – when does sunscreen become sunblock?  In theory, mineral-based sunscreen is normally sunblock as it reflects the sun’s rays away from you, while the more traditional chemical lotions are sunscreens.  In theory, sunscreen allows you to tan, while sunblock does not.  Both reduce your ability to produce vitamin D.  However, today many lotions contain both chemicals and minerals, and so the terms have become more loosely applied.

Next: Tips for protecting children from sunburn – from new-borns to teens.

If you found this article useful, please share it (buttons below) – thank you!

More Tips:

Are you getting enough?       Sunscreen / sunblock – what’s it all about?      Is sunscreen safe?        Which is the best sunscreen?

References:

Skin Cancer Foundation, Environmental Working Group, Wikipedia, Organic Make-up Canada, Zen to Fitness, Alternative Consumer, Green Footsteps,  PETA, Peak Testosterone,  Foreueblog.com,  Time Magazine, Skin Care Hub, Wise Geek, Pediatric Career, Holistic, Green Living Ideas, Pure Energy Wellness, Natural Living for Women, L A Times, Eco Life, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, cancer.gov

Photo Credits: Woman at beach: microsoft.com    Man at Beach Microsoft.com / Corbis.

14 comments… add one

Your thoughts and opinions are important to me! Do tell me in the comments below!

  • Sheena. 22nd June 2017, 4:19 AM

    Lots of good points, and I had time to read.

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 27th June 2017, 11:07 AM

      Thanks Sheena, and it’s great that you now have the time to read!

      Reply
  • G.E. Moon II 21st April 2014, 5:38 AM

    Clare,

    I thought you might like this.

    “Carrot seed oil is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. When applied topically to the skin in the form of a diluted carrier oil, carrot seed oil also provides natural sun protection. According to a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 38 and 40.”

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 21st April 2014, 3:48 PM

      That’s great Gary, thank you so much! I’ve updated my post with this information, it’s so useful. We really do have everything we need on this planet without resorting to toxic chemicals.

      Reply
  • Mil 2nd August 2011, 10:44 PM

    Lucy and I just went for a bike ride yesterday and she got burned on the face. She doesn’t like those commercial sunscreen for the reasons you described, so I will let her know about your recipe. It’s hard to wear a hat when one is wearing a bike helmet also; this will help.

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 3rd August 2011, 7:03 AM

      LOL! Yes, definitely difficult to wear a hat with a helmet! And helmets are great, but they don’t protect your neck from the sun. Play around with the quantities in the recipe until you find the right consistency – we;re all different. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • Eva Palmer 30th July 2011, 2:12 AM

    I never thought about making my own sunscreen!
    It sounds fun and a great idea!
    Thanks eco-expert!

    Reply
  • Las Vegas Plumbing 29th July 2011, 8:44 AM

    Those are some really good tips on making your own sunscreen. I would have never thought of those.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Kevin Bettencourt 29th July 2011, 2:59 AM

    I didn’t know how easy it was to make your own sunscreen. I guess sunscreen safety and men don’t really mix. Then again, I don’t lay out to get a tan either. I always wear a hat and at least short sleeves.

    Reply
  • Anthony Lemme 28th July 2011, 9:45 PM

    Great ideas. I never wear any store bought sunscreen or lotion. Most are completely toxic! My advice is if you can’t or shouldn’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin. It is absorbed into your bloodstream at some point. The zinc oxide is very effective. Just need to reapply. Also, an antioxidant rich diet will give you much protection. The shade works well also! Thanks for the tips!

    Anthony

    Reply
  • John Moulder 28th July 2011, 4:24 PM

    Some folks just under estimate the power of the sun . Cloudy days are where most people get badly burnt . Especially as we head into spring in the southern hemisphere .

    Reply
  • Sheena. says:

    Lots of good points, and I had time to read.

  • G.E. Moon II says:

    Clare,

    I thought you might like this.

    “Carrot seed oil is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. When applied topically to the skin in the form of a diluted carrier oil, carrot seed oil also provides natural sun protection. According to a study published in “Pharmacognosy Magazine” in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 38 and 40.”

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

    • Clare Delaney says:

      That’s great Gary, thank you so much! I’ve updated my post with this information, it’s so useful. We really do have everything we need on this planet without resorting to toxic chemicals.

  • […] What are “Natural” Sunscreens, and can I make my own? […]

  • […] More sunscreen information – sunscreen vs. sunblock, what about Vitamin D […]

  • […] What are “Natural” Sunscreens, and can I make my own? […]

  • Mil says:

    Lucy and I just went for a bike ride yesterday and she got burned on the face. She doesn’t like those commercial sunscreen for the reasons you described, so I will let her know about your recipe. It’s hard to wear a hat when one is wearing a bike helmet also; this will help.

    • Clare Delaney says:

      LOL! Yes, definitely difficult to wear a hat with a helmet! And helmets are great, but they don’t protect your neck from the sun. Play around with the quantities in the recipe until you find the right consistency – we;re all different. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eva Palmer says:

    I never thought about making my own sunscreen!
    It sounds fun and a great idea!
    Thanks eco-expert!

  • Las Vegas Plumbing says:

    Those are some really good tips on making your own sunscreen. I would have never thought of those.

    Thanks!

  • Kevin Bettencourt says:

    I didn’t know how easy it was to make your own sunscreen. I guess sunscreen safety and men don’t really mix. Then again, I don’t lay out to get a tan either. I always wear a hat and at least short sleeves.

  • Anthony Lemme says:

    Great ideas. I never wear any store bought sunscreen or lotion. Most are completely toxic! My advice is if you can’t or shouldn’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin. It is absorbed into your bloodstream at some point. The zinc oxide is very effective. Just need to reapply. Also, an antioxidant rich diet will give you much protection. The shade works well also! Thanks for the tips!

    Anthony

  • John Moulder says:

    Some folks just under estimate the power of the sun . Cloudy days are where most people get badly burnt . Especially as we head into spring in the southern hemisphere .